The New York Red Bulls announced Kenny Cooper has been traded to FC Dallas for a reported $200k in allocation money.
Cooper, 28, scored a team leading 18 goals through 27 appearances for the Red Bulls last season. That tally was good for second amongst all goal scorers in the league, trailing only Chris Wondolowski who tied a Major League Soccer goalscoring record with 27 notches.
“Due to salary cap restrictions and in order to balance our squad now and in the future, we have very reluctantly traded Kenny. The allocation money combined with the salary cap relief that we obtained will be vital for us to strengthen the squad in specific areas,” said Red Bulls Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh. “Kenny, who is a great professional as well as an excellent person to work with, has been a very good member of our roster and we wish him every success with the next phase of his playing career.
“Kenny and MLS have been very supportive during this difficult process.”
FC Dallas became the perfect suitor for Cooper after the team’s transfer of Brek Shea which created the cap space, allocation funds and roster room necessary to complete the deal. He will now join an attack that boasts the likes of Eric Hassli, David Ferreira, Blas Perez and Fabian Castillo.
Despite his goal scoring prowess, Cooper was the target of criticism throughout the 2012 season, particularly from club’s leaders Hans Backe and Thierry Henry. The Swedish boss publicly lamented over Cooper’s inability to use his size to his advantage; particularly in set piece situations. Cooper, who is more inclined to showcase his fancy footwork rather than impose his 200 lb. frame, frustrated the former Red Bulls’ boss who felt he could have a stronger presence in the box.
Though the big American striker repeatedly spoke about the honor of playing alongside Henry, he rarely received reciprocity from the team captain. Henry had his own frustrations with his play. Though the Frenchman acknowledged Cooper’s contributions, he would consistently add telling caveats to his comments. Cooper “will shoot from anywhere” and “needs to remember he has teammates” were regular observations heaped upon his forward partner. Those frustrations would become quite visible on the field with Henry routinely reprimanding Coopers play.
With his departure, the Red Bulls now look to add to a forward corps that includes the aforementioned Henry, Fabian Espindola, Josue Martinez, and Amado Moreno. Tim Cahill, currently listed at midfield, could make the switch to his natural position up top with Henry if called upon to do so.
New York hopes Cooper’s $370k cap savings and Dallas’ allocation will go a long way in filling the 18 goal gap he leaves behind.
The question is, can they?
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